Saturday, August 04, 2007

Red Wings like Gelech's potential

By Matthew Wuest

The Detroit Red Wings see a little bit of Anaheim Ducks forward Travis Moen in recently-signed right-winger Randall Gelech.

The 23-year-old Gelech inked a two-year contract with the Red Wings in mid-July after the Phoenix Coyotes opted not to re-sign him. The Red Wings like his potential and want to keep developing him, and will likely assign him to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.

“You’re hoping Gelech, down the road, maybe becomes a Travis Moen,” Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “He played against Moen in junior and he was just as good of a player. You’re just hoping. He’s still a young kid.”

Moen, 25, had 21 points in 82 games with the Ducks last season and added 12 points in 21 playoff games en route to Stanley Cup. Gelech recorded 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points in 79 games last season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder has the attributes of a good NHL fourth-liner.

“We like his size, he plays hard on the boards, he chases the puck well and he has pretty good hands for a big guy,” Nill said. “In this game, we’re forced to rush a lot of kids and we’re just hoping we find one of them who slips through the cracks, much like Dan Cleary did.”

In other news, goaltender Logan Koopmans has re-signed with the Red Wings, inking a one-year contract. The 23-year-old has averaged just over 20 starts per season over the past three years because of various injuries, and was even contemplating retirement at one point.

The Red Wings now have five goaltenders under contract.

“He had tough luck with injuries and we just said, ‘You know what? Let's give him a chance, one more time,’” Nill said.


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